The Government Museum in Bengaluru has a collection of pre-historic antiquities, beautiful paintings, and ancient stone sculptures. If you are an art aficionado, you will appreciate the priceless collections in the museum.
Your destination is on Kasturba Road, Bengaluru. The ticket price is Rs. 20/- and with this ticket, you can access both Government Museum and Venkatappa Art Gallery.
The museum is opened 6 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm and is closed to visitors on Mondays. Weekends are usually crowded. If you are on a study tour or doing some kind of research, the weekdays will be more comforting.
The Antiques Gallery is in the main hall of the Government Museum. This section consists of antiques that belong to the pre-historic period, Neolithic and Megalithic period (5000 BC to 400 BC), and early historic period (300 BC to 200 AD).
The antiques on display are stone and iron implements, pottery, sarcophagi, shell jewelry, beads, iron tools, and several other items that were found during excavations conducted in various places such as – Jadigenahalli, Savanadurga, Chandralli, Tarabanahalli, Tadakanahalli, Coorg, Anekal, Hampi, Arikemedu, Attirampakam, and Mohenjadaro.
The Weapons Section too is in the Antique Gallery that has a decent collection of ancient weapons. Some of them are ceremonial objects that were mainly used during the Dasara festival as part of Ayudha Puja rituals.
The paintings gallery is on the first floor and as you climb the spiral staircase you get a feeling of being in an old building. Yes, the Government Museum is more than 140 years old built-in 1877.
Before you enter the hall, you will come across wood carvings of various Hindu gods. You will also get to see musical instruments of ancient times such as Swara Mandala, Tambura, Flute, Veena, Kinnari Veena, Coorg Drums, Trumpets just to name a few.
As you enter the hall, prepare yourself to observe the paintings. Each one of them is priceless and unique. There are different styles of painting like Mysore Style of Paintings, Tanjore Style Painting, Deccani Miniature Painting, Islamic Painting, Malwa School of Painting, Bikaner School of Painting, Nathdwara Painting, and Bundi Painting.
Apart from paintings, there are some beautiful brass statues of Hindu gods. The statues of Shiva, Veerabadra, Murudeshwara, Nataraja, and Ganapati are remarkable.
The sculptures on display range from 1st to 2nd century BC to 17th Century AD. They belong to the Satavahana, Gupta, Chalukya, Chandela, Gujarat, Ganga, Bana, Hoysala, Vijayanagar, and Nayaka periods. The sculpture once formed parts of temples, some as decorative pieces, and others as images for worship. The style and iconography of the images represent the rich tradition of sculptural art of the time.
The Sculpture Gallery is on the ground floor adjacent to the Antique Gallery. As you walk towards the gallery, there’s an image showing the progress of the Kannada script. The script used in the olden days, during the time of the Hoysala and Vijayanagar empire which is very interesting.
The sculpture gallery is full of stone sculptures as old as the 10th century AD. The stone sculpture of Lord Varaha, Natya Ganapati, Kalabairava are impressive. The sculptures are not only limited to the hall, but there are also plenty of them outside the museum and each one of them is unique and beautiful. All you have to do is circumvent the museum building.
Now that you have covered all three galleries in the Government Museum, carry the same ticket to enter the Venkatappa Art Gallery. The Venkatappa Gallery has some precious arts created by K Venkatappa, a pioneer painter.
Do not miss the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technology Museum if you have not explored it yet. Also, venture into Cubbon Park to have a look into the Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall. You wouldn’t miss taking selfies in front of Attara Kacheri and Vidhana Soudha, the most imposing building in Bengaluru.